#LOVECulture during Culture Night Dublin 2015
Culture Night 2015 was a very exciting one for me, as it was my first Dublin Culture night. Having experienced it in Galway and Longford, I embraced finally being in the capital on this lustrous occasion. Not one to do things by half, I had an action packed evening planned.
One of the best quotes I heard throughout the night was “the stuff I like is my culture”, which rings very true. Many people might scoff at the word “culture”, fearing it to be boring or pretentious, but Culture Night is far from either. With events of all shapes and sizes to suit every taste, it is one incredible night of music, arts and dance.
So what is my culture? Well, I love radio, music and dance; and thus so, got to incorporate all three into what was set to be an incredible night.
A few weeks previous, I managed to get two tickets to the coveted Gavin James gig in the IMRO offices. Tickets were free, but hard to come by; good thing I am usually on the ball with securing these events. I happily discovered my good friend and musician Barry Jay Hughes also had a ticket; queue even more excitement from yours truly. Zoe from Musicwand attended as my plus one.
As in turned out, Barry Jay was asked to play a gig in NCAD as part of Culture Night, for Near FM and Near TV; how perfect. This was at 3:30, so slotted into our plans. And thus we began our cultured evening as audience members of a live radio show in Ireland’s biggest art and design college.
The setting was so relaxed, and so professional. A marquee had been erected at the back of the college, where the few of us gathered waiting for Barry Jay’s set. More delight came when he announced he was going to play a brand new song; Medieval City. As ever, he played without flaw, really kicking our culture night off to an amazing start.
Being a lover of all things weird and wonderful, I was adamant that we went to Morning Gloryville’s rave in the basement. Nothing would do me but go to this event, so off we shot. What I wasn’t aware of was the sheer amount of incredible happenings around Merrion Square. In fact, every basement space had something different; from art sculptures of horses, to boxing rings, printing presses and more, it was fascinating. The atmosphere was electric, everyone was enjoying themselves and soaking in what this dazzling day had to offer.
When we reached Morning Gloryville, I was like a kid at Christmas. Not altogether feeling well lately, this was just the boost I needed. Looking in from above, everyone was dancing and having a good time but suffering from anxiety I was apprehensive about joining them so I watched perched from the railings. However, Morning Gloryville being that incredible injection of joy that they are, they shouted words of encouragement, inviting me down to the party. Who am I to refuse. As I walked down the steps I was greeted with a cheer, everyone was happy to see me. This I have to say was a massive lift to my confidence, as if a hundred people were hugging me at once. Of course I did get a hug my the lovely dancing lady who greeted me as I approached the bottom of the stairs. Where these people get their energy from I don’t know, but it is infectious and I love them.
So I danced, and sang and had a good time, eventually joined by a reluctant Barry Jay who came down more so for my benefit. Zoe took some time out to enjoy her sambo. Alas, plans were afoot and while I would have loved to boogie the night away right there in that tiny square of basement, we had Gavin James to attend. I’m guessing Barry Jay was somewhat relieved at our departure.
Dancing and singing my way down the street, we got to IMRO in plenty of time. What lay ahead was an intimate night of pure musical perfection. Gavin James took to the stage, greeted by a cheerful Paddy McKenna, before being presented with a really great award from IMRO. Paddy proceeded to interview Gavin, who was charming, witty and altogether humble about his achievements. He had the audience in stitches at his quips, and everyone held attention on his every word.
Of course we wanted to hear him sing, and we weren’t disappointed. For the next half an hour nobody uttered a word as Gavin blew us all away with a raw and powerful performance. How one man and a guitar can make that beautiful a sound is beyond comprehension. One of the true heroes of modern Irish music, Gavin reminds us that we don’t have far too look when seeking authentic talent.
And thus Culture Night came to an early end, with Barry Jay and Zoe making a quick dash for Bus Aras. I decided to stroll through town to soak in the atmosphere, still arriving home at a respectable 9:30pm.
Culture Night gives everyone the opportunity to experience something new, or something that might not be accessible at other times of the year. There is an entire schedule to suit everyone, and is a testament to the talent throughout the arts in this country. Looking forward to next year already.
Check out a silly video Barry and I made: